District family advocates, positions newly created by the DOE's Office of Family Engagement and Advocacy before the 2007-08 school year, will be fewer and farther between in 2008-09, according to a story in today's Post.
Each district was to have at least two family advocates according to OFEA, over and above school-based parent coordinators. Now, it looks like more than half of the city's 34 districts may have only one.
Calls to OFEA were inconclusive: Gwen Hopkins, Managing Director for Parent Leadership and Support, didn't deny that cuts were planned, saying "many divisions have to weather this latest round of cuts." Chief of Staff Melissa Harris put us on hold for a while, then came back to say she was "not at liberty" to respond to our questions.
Parents, if you've had interactions, positive or negative, with District Family Advocates, let us know. We're interested in learning how thinning their ranks might affect everyday life at the city's schools.
UPDATE: DOE spokesperson Melody Meyer provided additional details on the parent advocate cutbacks. Although some elementary/middle-school positions will be eliminated, she said, others will be added at the borough advocate level, in response to parent demand for high-school admissions guidance and other high-school information. Meyer could not say where cuts would occur, or whether the new borough advocates would receive formal training in the high-school admissions process.